Wednesday, 16 May 2007

The Flying Saucer Working Party - UK Government UFO Deception

The Flying Saucer Working Party - UK Government UFO Deception

Before I start with this I feel it's necessary to point out that The Ministry Of Defence (MOD) has always categorically denied that any investigation into UFO's, their origins and their threat level had took place Even when the minutes of this <strenuously denied> non-existent committee came to light in 1999, the report it produced could not be found. The document was conveniently, “Absent” from the catalogue at the Public Record Office (now the TNA). Staff eventually concluded that apparently the document, “Had not survived the passage of time.”

Sir Henry Tizard

The story starts with a man named, Sir Henry Tizard, one of Churchill's most trusted scientific advisors. At the start of the First World War, Tizard signed up to the Royal Garrison Artillery before becoming experimental equipment officer to the Royal Flying Corps. Then the Ministry of Munitions from 1918 to 1919. When the war finished he was made Reader in Chemical Thermodynamics at Oxford where he pioneered the concept of, “Octane Numbers.” Then back to the government and a job as assistant secretary to the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research which in turn <among other things> lead to Director of Scientific Research to the Air Force and finally as the Rector of Imperial College, London, (1929-1942.)

1933 saw Tizzard appointed as Chairman of the Aeronautical Research Committee a post which he occupied for most of the Second World War. In the run up to the war Tizard was heavily involved in pioneering radar, then in 1940 after a top secret conference with Churchill in which he had been overruled on an objection to Reginald Victor Jones's view that the Germans had established a system of radio-beam bombing aids over the UK, he commenced on, “The Tizard Mission.” On this mission he introduced British radar developments to the United States and other interested parties. 1948 and a return to the MOD as Chief Scientific Advisor (1948-1952).

It was while Tizard was in this post that he flexed the muscle of Chief Scientific Advisor and stated that, “UFO sightings should not be dismissed without some form of proper scientific study.” It was due almost exclusively to Tizzards insistence that a small Directorate of Scientific Intelligence/Joint Technical Intelligence Committee (DSI/JTIC) working party was to be set up to further investigate the phenomenon.

The infamously named, “The Flying Saucer Working Party.”

It is also worth noting at this point that by mid 1950 there was a war in Korea and Russia had just successfully tested their first atomic bomb, thus creating even more pressure and adding to the question as to who or what was frequently invading British and American airspace in the form of UFO's.

The DSI/JTIC minutes stated,

The Chairman said that Sir Henry Tizard felt that reports of flying saucers ought not to be dismissed without some investigation and he had, therefore, agreed that a small DSI/JTIC Working Party should be set up under the chairmanship of Mr Turney to investigate future reports. It was agreed that the membership of the Working Party should comprise representatives of DSI1, ADNI(Tech), MI10 and ADI(Tech). It was further agreed that it would be necessary at some time to consult the Meteorological Department and ORS Fighter Command but that these two bodies should not be asked to nominate representatives”

The Flying Saucer Working Party Is Born

The Flying Saucer Working Party had five high ranking members. These were selected from the elite Technical Intelligence branches of the Air Ministry, Admiralty, War Office and Ministry of Defence. It's first meeting was in October 1950 and as a result of this meeting, the Royal Navy and the RAF were asked to submit all UFO sightings directly to the Flying Saucer Working Party.

When the National Archives released this information the background was outlined and was as follows:

Terms Of Reference For The Flying Saucer Working Party.

  1. To review the available evidence in reports of ‘Flying Saucers'.

  2. To examine from now on the evidence on which rep orts of British origin of phenomena attributed to ‘Flying Saucers' are based.

  3. To report to DSI/JTIC as necessary.

  4. To keep in touch with American occurrences and evaluation of such.

The conclusions were printed in a document which is dated June 1951. The report on, “Unidentified Flying Objects” was classified as “Secret, Discreet.” After eight months of studying UFO sightings from across the world, The Flying Saucer Working Party concluded that only three warranted further investigation.

The first was in June 1950 a pilot on patrol from RAF Tangmere in Sussex sighted a “Bright circular metallic object” which shot past his Meteor jet fighter at 20,000 feet. During the debriefing process, it transpired that four RAF controllers at an air defence radar station near Eastbourne had, at the same time, tracked an, “Unusual response” that quickly vanished from their screens, moving at terrific speed.

And the other two reports came from the same pilot regarding two different events, with the second being corroborated by several military personnel. The witness, am experienced test pilot who retired from the RAF as a Wing Commander. The report was about an incident which occurred in August 1950. He spotted a,” Flat disc-shaped object resembling a shirt button, light pearl grey in colour, spinning through a series of S-turns at speeds of up to 1,000 miles per hour above the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough.”

And two weeks later the same pilot, this time with FIVE other RAF officers saw yet another disc shaped object which appeared low in the sky in the direction of Guildford and Farnham.

ALL of the group witnessed the UFO performing extraordinary, high speed manoeuvres, including flying in a peculiar, “Falling leaf” motion before shooting off into the horizon, again at a terrific speed. All six were interrogated by a MOD team and were allegedly warned not to discuss the UFO sighting in public.

And The Flying Saucer Working Party's response to these highly trained military officers? Despite the experience and calibre of the RAF witnesses, dismissed the first report as, “Impossible to believe” and probably an optical illusion. Adding that an unconventional object could have flown at high speed and low altitude over a densely-populated area on a fine summer morning without anyone else having reported it.

And the second sighting, the one with five additional witnesses to the second sighting? Well they claimed that this report was heavily influenced by the first report and that this was probably a normal aircraft and only appeared unusual because it had been spotted “Manoeuvring at extreme visual range.”

Doesn't display much faith in their military officers, does it?

The CIA & The Birth Of A Conspiracy

The final report which was given to the Directorate of Scientific Intelligence in June 1951, a special guest at the meeting was the CIA's chief scientist, H. Marshall Chadwell.

It is an important fact to understand that Dr Chadwell was responsible for the US Government's policy of debunking saucer reports in an effort to remove the threat that belief in UFOs was seen to pose at the height of the Cold War stand-off. Indeed, the shadowy workings of the US government are echoed throughout the methods of the Flying Saucer Working Party. It is now known that the CIA planned to strip the UFO subject of its, “Privileged position” in the media by an, “Education programme.“ (Surely that should have read RE-education!! ) And true to form, the British happily embraced this ideology and adopted a very similar stance.

It is widely accepted that this was one of the causes of the huge conspiracy theory that has followed The Flying Saucer Working Party and its findings ever since. It can be argued that if the MOD came clean from the outset then this entire incident would be nothing more than history now. Even the terminology is explained by the US connection and reflected American influence as the acronym UFO was coined by the USAF in the early

1950's although its original inception is credited to a journalist way back in 1947. Pilot Kenneth Arnold started the modern flying saucer craze when he reported seeing several UFOs. He described them as boomerang-shaped, but also noted that they were hopping, like a saucer skipping on the water. A reporter then modified the phrase to, "Flying saucer" and so the era of the flying saucer was born.

DSI/JTIC Report No 7

The culmination of The Flying Saucer Working Party's report was unspectacularly titled, “DSI/JTIC Report No 7.” This six page document was (as we've already mentioned) classified as “Secret, Discreet.” Discreet was defined as follows:

(Discreet) “Contains classified military information of US or joint US/UK origin, which may not be passed to a third country without the permission of the US Government.” The term is now obsolete and has been replaced by the James Bond-esque, “UK/US Eyes Only.”

The report was unenthusiastic about the chances of any of these craft being extraterrestrial in origin with the report summarising that,

“When the only material available is a mass of purely subjective evidence… is impossible to give anything like scientific proof that the phenomena observed are, or are not, caused by something entirely novel, such as aircraft of extraterrestrial origin, developed by beings unknown to us on lines more advanced than anything we have thought of.”

Listing several possible causes such as astronomical or meteorological phenomena, mistaken identifications of aircraft, balloons, birds (and great many other natural objects) optical & psychological delusions and/or just plain old-fashioned deliberate, orchestrated hoaxes. It did however have some interesting thoughts on gathering conclusive proof, whether that be either confirming or debunking the theory. They stated that it would be required to,

”Organise throughout the country, or the world, continuous observation of the skies by a co-ordinated network of visual observers, equipped with photographic apparatus and supplemented by a network of radar stations and sound locators.”

However The Flying Saucer Working Party also concluded that such a project would inevitably be an,

“Expensive and singularly profitless enterprise…….We recommend very strongly that no further investigation of reported mystery aerial phenomena be undertaken, unless and until some material evidence becomes available.”

Click on image to download the complete DSI/JTIC Report No 7 (.pdf format)

Flying Saucer Working Party & The Roswell Connection

Debunkers of the Roswell theory found an unlikely ally in the final report. For what was always thought to be the, “Smoking gun” of classified documents, actually turned out to be seemingly solid evidence that nothing happened at Roswell . The report tells how a member of the USAF investigation said that the discovery of a crashed flying saucer and recovery of alien entities had since been admitted <by the original author> to be a complete fabrication.

But let's look at the reality of this, if only a handful of people in the US knew of the retrieval of a crashed UFO as is claimed, then what are the chances of the American correspondent even knowing about the (if any) facts of the case, let alone being in a position to divulge the information to a foreign power?

This evidence simply compounded the already blinkered view of the British who subscribed to the views of the US, i.e. believing that peaks of UFO sightings were merely a ripple effect being felt every time the media covered a UFO story, ultimately (they claimed) indicating the extent to which sightings may be psychological in origin, or even more dismissively, that these sightings were merely the product of Cold War paranoia.

Their report was considered by the DSI/JTIC and it was recommended that in view of its negative connotations and equally negative conclusions should be regarded as a final. It was further suggested that the working party be dissolved with immediate effect. This was agreed, bringing to an end the MOD's first UFO research project. “ OFFICIALLY ” the MOD wouldn't hold another investigation into the UFO phenomenon for over 45 years. However……

UFO Sightings Intensify From 1952

Although the Flying Saucer Working Party was dissolved in 1951 official interest in UFOs continued.

Churchill's official Scientific Advisor Lord Cherwell, who was a great rival and had a long and troubled history with Sir Henry Tizard, said he had personally seen the Secretary of State's minute and that he, “Agreed entirely with his conclusions.”

It was less than four weeks after Cherwell had sealed the fate (or so was thought) of UFO investigation in the UK that NATO was carrying out one of their biggest peacetime exercises (a simulated Soviet attack on Western Europe ). It was during this exercise that yet again, “Flying saucers” were reported by both RAF and Royal Navy personnel, inevitably setting off the relentless and much loathed media machine, this time amidst public cries for a Government inquiry.

It was about this time that the MOD obviously thought enough was enough and decided to, “Close shop.” An action which resulted in orders being sent to all RAF stations invoking the considerable powers which are available under the, “Official Secrets Act.” The ramifications of which forbade service personnel from discussing UFO sightings with members of the public or (more importantly!) the Press.

“The public attach more credence to reports by Royal Air Force personnel than to those by members of the public…….. All reports are therefore to be classified confidential and personnel are warned that they are not to communicate to anyone other than official persons any information about phenomena they have observed.”

Also, during the summer of 1952, UFOs appeared in force above Washington D.C. showing up on radar and outpacing the most advanced jet fighters of the time. In fact the implications reached the higher echelons of the Truman administration and all the way across the Atlantic to Britains government. This prompted Churchill to write the now famous memo to his Secretary of State for Air, The Lord de L'Isle and Dudley , asking,

“What does all this stuff about flying saucers amount to?” Churchill asked. “What can it mean? What is the truth? Let me have a report at your convenience.” (This was one of the two incidents on record that first alerted UFOlogists to the existence of The Flying Saucer Working Party and their subsequent report).

The UFO sightings continued from 1952 right through to 1957. A series of UFO sightings involving the military, coupled with an increasing number of reports from the general public forced the MOD to rethink its policy.

In fact, by as early as 1953 the Flying Saucer Working Party's recommendation that all inquiries into UFO sightings should cease was overturned and two Air Ministry Divisions were actively involved in investigating UFO sightings. The divisions concerned were S6, a civilian secretariat division of the air staff, and DDI (Tech), a technical intelligence branch of the Air Ministry. Their brief was to research and investigate the UFO phenomenon looking for evidence of any threat to the UK .

So, it would seem that there are certain aspects of the final report that didn't sit very comfortably with the MOD, otherwise they wouldn't have ordered an even more secretive investigation, or would they?

Could it be that since there was an increasing number of military personnel reporting these incidents it suddenly became of higher importance? Or maybes someone in the MOD was making noises about the lack of interest shown in a subject that held (and still does) profound security implications. We may never know, but we do know that the investigation of UFO's and UFO related phenomena MOST DEFINITELY continued.

© Michael Naisbitt 2007 (

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